Published August 10, 2010
U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul is threatening to sue a magazine following a report that alleges he kidnapped a female friend and tried to force her to smoke marijuana as a college student at Baylor University.
GQ Magazine published a report Monday anonymously quoting a woman who claimed Paul and another man came to her house, blindfolded her, and tied her up before trying to force her to "take bong hits" in 1983 when the three were students at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
The report also alleges that Paul, who is running as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, was part of a secret society called the NoZe Brotherhood, which "existed to torment the Baylor administration" through "pranks" and its student-run satirical newspaper.
Paul told Fox News that he "categorically" denies the kidnapping allegation. "This stuff is just outrageous and ridiculous. No, I never was involved with kidnapping. No, I never was involved with forcibly drugging people," he said.
Paul’s spokesman, Jesse Benton, said Tuesday that the account "is made up or distorted beyond recognition" and accused the reporter, Jason Zengerle, of driving a "leftist agenda" meant to damage Paul’s campaign.
"It’s a libel story," Benton said in an interview with FoxNews.com. "It’s just so ridiculous – it's not worth responding to."
Benton said the campaign is considering legal action against the magazine, but acknowledged that, "We need all of our money going to the campaign and not to attorneys."
"We have a limited amount of time and financial resources for this kind of thing," he said.
The magazine, meanwhile, is standing by its story. GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson said in an e-mail statement Tuesday that "We've vetted, researched and exhaustively fact-checked Jason Zengerle's reporting on Rand Paul's college days."
"We stand by the story, and we gave the Paul campaign every opportunity to refute it," he said. "We notice that they have not, in fact, refuted it.”
Paul, the 47-year-old son of Republican Texas Rep. Ron Paul, says he attended Baylor University in the early 1980s but never graduated. He reportedly opted to leave the school early when he was accepted to medical school at Duke University, where he earned his medical degree in 1988.
The woman, quoted in GQ, told the magazine that Paul and another member of the brotherhood drove her to a creek after she refused to smoke marijuana and forced her to worship an "Aqua Buddha."
"They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman reportedly told the magazine. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.'
"They never hurt me, they never did anything wrong, but the whole thing was kind of sadistic. They were messing with my mind. It was some kind of joke," the woman reportedly said.
While Benton would not confirm Paul’s involvement with the NoZe Brotherhood, campaign sources have described the group as a "benign" fraternity of sorts that engaged in community service, published "irreverent" writings and "pulled a few pranks."
The campaign of Paul's Democratic opponent, Jack Conway, had no comment on the story when contacted Tuesday by FoxNews.com.